SharePoint Document Libraries: 2 authors but no exclusive check out

I think that anyone that has even seen a SharePoint demo knows that SharePoint offers robust document collaboration features with the ability for exclusive Check-In and Check-out.  Exclusive Check-In and Check-Out is optional and configurable individually within each library.  Some of the organizations that I work with have ‘less than savvy’ end users who are constantly plagued by this concept of Check-Out.  One of the questions that I frequently hear is what happens if we opt not to use this feature?  And if we opt to not use it, what if two or more people are editing the same document at the same time, and they both save it to the Document Library?

The answer is doom and gloom!  Not really.  Actually, the Microsoft Office tools are designed to appropriately hand just such cases.  For example, Word will notify the user that is saving the document that changes were made by other authors and give the author the option to view the changes or just overwrite the changes.

If you opt for viewing the changes, Microsoft Word 2010 will automatically merge the changes with change tracking turned on so the author can selectively determine which change to keep. 


Word has refreshed you document with changes made by other authors.  To compare the document with a previous version click the File tab.

Clicking the File tab in Word 2010 will show an option to manage versions at the bottom of the screen:


Clicking Manage Versions gives quite a few options as well.


By John Stover

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